So you’ve checked your credit score, now what? If you think your credit score could use a bit of an improvement, check out these five tips below that may help you raise your score.

  1. Check your credit information

We all make mistakes, even your credit providers do. They might have your wrong address, report a credit enquiry that you didn’t make, or they could have reported a credit enquiry twice. That’s why it’s important to check your credit report or credit file information (with each credit reporting body in Australia) for errors once a year. You are entitled by law to one free credit report per year from each credit reporting body.

A credit provider can look at your credit file to assess your credit worthiness so you want them to have an accurate and up to date picture of your credit history. If you spot any errors, contact your credit provider to have the mistake fixed.

  1. Pay down your debts

Having a history of late payments and defaults can be a red flag to potential credit providers and can negatively impact your credit score. Whilst you can’t remove late payments and defaults from your credit file unless they are incorrect, you can minimise their impact on your score by repaying the amounts owing.

If you’re having problems managing your debts or you’re in financial trouble, speak to your credit provider as soon as possible as they may be able to offer assistance before recording any negative information on your credit file.

  1. Do your homework before applying for any new credit

When you apply for credit, a hard enquiry may be recorded on your credit file. Making lots of credit applications over a short period of time can lower your credit score. A credit provider may think all your past applications have been rejected by other lenders and assume you are a high risk to lend to. On the other hand, they might think your past applications have all been approved and you aren’t in a good position to take on more credit. Remember to do your homework first and only apply for credit if and when you really need it.

  1. Always pay your bills on time

Paying your bills in full and on time isn’t just good for your finances, it’s good for your credit score too. While an occasional late payment here or there shouldn’t significantly lower your credit score, a history of missed payments can be a sign of financial stress and can damage your credit reputation. Bills that are more than 14 days overdue can now be reported on your credit file (if that credit provider has an Australian Credit Licence) so make sure you make your repayments on time.

Arrange to have your credit providers email you your bills rather than send them in the mail. Many providers can also send you a text message reminder when your bill is due. You can make use of your bank’s online banking system to have bills automatically paid from your account or to pay your bills whenever you’re out and about.

  1. Be patient

Improving your credit score is a marathon not a sprint. Demonstrating a history of good credit management and waiting for negative information to age off your credit file takes time. While it may be frustrating to sit back and wait for your credit score to improve, sometimes that is all you can do.

For more information about how to improve your credit score, check out our Credit Knowledge Centre here.

Do you have a tip on how to improve your credit score? Share it with us in the comments below.

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7 Comments

  1. I am of senior years and my credit is excellent with a score of 830. I always pay my bills on time, my credit card is paid in full every month and all my life I have saved a portion of my salary. Young people of today, in my opinion, live beyond their means and that is why they have so much credit card debt. If you cannot afford to pay your bill in full every month don’t make the purchase.

    Live within your means!

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  4. phillip mark joseph samsely Reply

    I noticed my score went down this month,I filled out a form as directed.I was not aplying for aloan but only soughting interest rates and fortnighty and monthly repayments on various amounts.I repeat, I was not applying for aloan,just trying to compare rates not realising it may have changed my score.AS you said in number 1 Check your credit information,we all make mistakes.So could you please let me know if there is a way of checking and comparing different rates without it mistaking it as a application for a loan ?I think credit savvy is a really great service.I will be more careful in future when making enquires .Any information you can provide on my request will be much appreciated Many thanks.

    • Hi Phillip,

      Thanks for getting in touch, we’re sorry to hear that your score has gone down.

      A credit provider may record an enquiry on your credit file when you apply (whether accidentally or on purpose) for a credit product. It is recorded on your file regardless of whether your application was approved or rejected. It does not indicate if the product was ever taken out, is still active or whether it has been paid off or not.

      We encourage all our members to do their homework before applying for anything and we have developed a free comparison site for exactly this reason. You can safely compare hundreds of credit products easily in one place.

      Kind Regards
      The Credit Savvy Team

  5. I can’t understand why my credit score is so low…
    I always pay my credit card on time and have paid off my personal loan…..
    I did make enquiries re my loan initially..not realising that the enquiries would impact on my credit rating…
    This loan is now paid off early…
    My report enquiries go back to 2013….
    I had one loan and about 10 enquiries….
    When do they drop off …. they are irrelevant.

    • Hi Theresa,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      For security reasons we are not able to access and comment on individual files. However, below is some general information that I hope will clarify your query.

      Credit Savvy provides credit file information and credit scores from Experian, one of Australia’s official credit reporting bodies (CRBs).

      Each CRB has their own algorithm that uses many different factors to determine a score and each will interpret the data differently.

      A credit provider may record an enquiry on your credit file when you apply for a credit product. It is recorded on your file regardless of whether your application was approved or rejected. It does not indicate if the product was ever taken out, is still active or whether it has been paid off or not.

      Credit enquiries can stay on your credit file for five years and can only be removed if incorrect or out of date.

      How enquiries affect your credit score depends on the frequency and recentness of the enquiries, the type of credit applied for and the provider of the credit.

      Historically, CRBs in Australia have not had access to your repayment history or balances so they haven’t been able to take this into account.

      Now the credit landscape is starting to change to focus more on rewarding good behaviour like paying your bills on time, however we’re still in a transition period and this will take some time to filter through.

      It is also worth noting that CRBs do not have visibility over your assets and are therefore unable to consider these in calculating your score.

      There is also some further information in the following articles that you may find useful:
      What are credit enquiries?
      How are credit scores calculated?

      Kind Regards
      The Credit Savvy Team

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